Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2014 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 3, 2014
The headline couldn t be
more ominous, "Soldier
slain...30 bullets cut
through lance corporal s car":
page one of the T&T Guardian
Another sad tale of the horrific
one-sided "war" being waged
upon innocent citizens by the
brazen-faced gunmen of Laven-
tille, in which a member of the
T&T Regiment, LC Kayode
Thomas, was unceremoniously
gunned down on the way to his
mother s Sunday night.
And so chalk up one more
productive life being taken out,
parents, relatives and friends of
the relatively young soldier were
left to mourn their loss while
the murderous perpetrator/s
somewhere in the crime-infested
area safely settle back, callously
enjoying their dastardly act
without any fear of retribution,
if the detection record of the
police is anything to go by.
For yet other occasion these
monsters have struck, dealing
their deathly blow to a soldier
who the army said it was proud
of, he being a respected member
of the Defence Force.
Media reports did not give any
reason for the slaying.
If ever there was a one-sided
war between the heavily-armed
criminals roaming Laventille at
will, that was a damning indica-
tion that the battle was well and
truly on, and heaven help us all
who are completely powerless to
defend ourselves, our loved ones
and our property.
This is where the members of
our protective services must rise
to the occasion, and it makes no
sense pretending that we are
dealing with a bunch of children
with toy guns that they play
with at Christmas time.
This is the real deal and as
National Security Minister Gary
Griffith is saying, a "war" has
been declared on us and we
cannot play dolly house with
these terrorists and use all kind
of fancy textbook theories to
excuse their uncivilised conduct.
How can parents, especially
those who have lost loved ones
at the trigger of these murderous
cowards, not accept that it is
time that we take off the gloves
and let these bastards know that
we are in charge and not they
who are prosecuting their activi-
ties with deadly precision?
On Tuesday morning Power
102 did a poll asking listeners if
they would like to see a "war"
against those evil ones and out
of 19 respondents 18 said yes.
What does that tell you?
The people are fed up of read-
ing, almost every morning, about
the fatalities which occurred the
day before and I am not speak-
ing about domestic disputes but
the senseless murders committed
because they have access to ille-
gal and powerful weapons.
Again, I want to repeat, I am
not saying that police should
just move in and kill suspects
without provocation, but if they
are confronted with the possibil-
ity of protecting their lives and
those of law-abiding citizens
they are required to defend
themselves and citizens with the
use of appropriate force at that
One unfortunate fallout with
these killings, as sad as they are,
is the cry by some citizens that
"this place gone through" and
that "T&T is a failed state" and
other self-defeatist statements
Acting Commissioner of Police
Stephen Williams told the Sun-
day Guardian that these homi-
cides were confined to certain
areas along the East-West Corri-
dor and not the rest of the
country, which is virtually free
of that kind of killings.
Shall we allow this handful of
young thugs to hold our country,
particularly the vast majority of
residents who live in those areas,
How come these few people
feel they are so empowered to
do what they are doing...to mash
up the place and get away with
it?Why are the children of par-
ents in other areas not behaving
as these are doing?
Last weekend there was, on
television, a small band of resi-
dents from one of the depressed
areas being led by a PNM coun-
cillor who were protesting the
wanton killings in their district.
What had me more distressed
is that while residents were cry-
ing out for help from these
criminals, their parliamentary
representative was conspicuously
Where is leadership when it is
It was 2002, the year of Ronnie Mc
Intosh's Biting Insects. The young
Surinamese were dancing in the
aisle of the aircraft and singing that
popular calypso with much gusto.
They were returning home from
Trinidad Carnival and seemed to
have had a wonderful time.
I thought to myself what a great
world it would be if all young people
were as happy, and my mind turned
to the unfortunate youths who
were the reason for my visit to Suri-
name. I had been invited to address
a symposium on juvenile justice at
the Palace Hotel in Paramaribo.
After the symposium my host sug-
gested that since I could not imme-
diately return to Trinidad as their
airline did not fly there every day, I
should visit the juvenile detention
I was filled with euphoria after
attending a sung Latin mass, where
I had my chance to sing with zest,
and in the process, date myself,
when my host reminded me of my
impending visit to the facility. "I
should warn you," she said, "that
one of your countrymen visited the
centre and wept."
As I glanced at her, she answered
my unspoken question, "Father
Gerry Pantin." I smiled inwardly, as
the imp put an uncharitable
thought into my mind. That is no
yardstick. He comes from not only a
praying family, but also an emo-
tional one. Soon, I would have to
beg the Lord's forgiveness.
I was totally unprepared for the
sight that awaited me. The facility
was reminiscent of a dog catcher's
cart on the way to the pound. As
the young, unkempt boys cried out
to me, stretching their hands
through the bars, unable to budge,
so tightly packed-in they were, I bit
my lips, closed my eyes and mo-
tioned to my host to take me away.
I felt helpless.
I was choked up and unable to
speak. I shook my head in disbelief.
Now, I understood Father Pantin's
pain and his compassion for the
suffering youths. Father, forgive me.
Recently, while visiting the East-
ern Caribbean, I visited youth train-
ing centres and was repeatedly told
by managers that they followed the
Servol model created by Father
Gerry Pantin. These centres were
making a positive difference in the
lives of Caribbean youths, steering
them away from a wrong path.
When Dana was killed, I was in
the Eastern Caribbean. I met
lawyers, magistrates, attorneys-
general, judges and police prosecu-
tors, who were asking me questions
I could not answer.
I could share in their pain and
anger at the death of a cherished
colleague, but had to bear my coun-
try's shame alone.
It was small comfort to read on-
line regional newspaper editorials
and tributes to her from Bar Associ-
ations. Dana had touched many
lives and made a difference in this
region. I could not believe that bold,
independent woman no longer
walked this earth, that she was
gone, leaving us with only memo-
ries.Both Dana and Father Gerry's
deaths were mourned within and
beyond their homeland because of
the influence they wielded in life
went beyond our shores. We are
proud of them, as having come
from us, for being the best of us, in
a land where sometimes all we can
see is dishonesty, despair, darkness
But there is always hope and
there still abounds in this land of
the Trinity, so much goodness, so
much God-given talent, and so
much love, if only we would take
the trouble to look for these signs
of God's blessings and His presence
yet among us.
BATTLE WELL AND TRULY ON Making a positive
difference in the region
Links Archive July 2nd 2014 July 4th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page